As part of its focus “greening” in community redevelopment, the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corp. (OARC) joined with Carson Valley Children’s Aid (CVCA) and Imhotep Institute Charter High School students Tuesday, November 16th to clean up a lot in the 6100 block of North 20th Street in West Oak Lane to prepare the site for the planting of a flower and produce garden to serve the community.
OARC and CVCA, which provide social services support to children and families in need, have entered into a partnership to address both the food and job training needs of at-risk populations in the Greater Philadelphia region. CVCA supports address poverty, behavioral health, drug and alcohol prevention through eight programs serving nine neighborhood centers throughout Philadelphia.
The flower and vegetable garden, located at 6146 North 20th Street, falls under the banner of a new initiative called “Breaking Ground,” in which the two organizations will collaborate to identify other vacant lots that can be converted to produce gardens.
In addition, the agencies will work together on providing employment and training services through the community gardens program as well as community workshops on a variety of topics. The goal is to increase access to fresh foods by educating residents on how to maintain productive gardens, particularly in underserved communities.
Among the proposed projects are establishing a gardening store in West Oak Lane, providing a place for youth to work; and integrating the community gardens into OARC’s Urban Energy Conservation initiatives – where homeowners in a selected block can receive retrofitting of their homes with energy-saving devices and weatherization.